My Speech (Journey To Me)

I will be blunt, because there is no real way of talking about my speech without doing so. I have a speech impediment, where d’s and t’s don’t always come out right or at all. This is especially true when d’s and t’s are in the middle of a word and I haven’t said that word a lot or at all.

Growing up I hated that it was called an impediment. It wasn’t because any negative experience I’ve had with having a speech impediment. I hated it, because I blurred the syllables together. I couldn’t say what I had well.

After years of speech therapy, theater, and practice friends and most people have said they don’t notice it. I know how to hide it and speak to be understood now.

I still hear it. I may not consciously be aware of it with every word I say, but I know it is still there in the shadows. I especially hear it when I listen to a recording or when I’m speaking through a microphone.

I repeat the words my friends tell me, “It’s just how I sound. It’s just how I talk.” I remind myself it makes me unique and those who matter don’t fault me for it.

For a time I cringed my way through editing videos of where I am speaking, whether it was monologues, tips, or improv videos. I forced myself to get comfortable with my voice. It did help me become more comfortable with my voice and accept it.

Eventually the videos slowed to a stop. The improved self-esteem for my speech was only a bi-product and my goals that were the real focus of the videos were not in the foreground of my motivation.

I gave little thought to my voice or speech for a while. It was not interfering with my life and it didn’t seem like an issue. I could listen to my voice without cringing now and everyone could understand me. Part of my thought that the impediment was behind me. It was something I had not have.  It felt as though the struggle with my impediment was over or a tiny pebble in the shadows of a far corner of my mind.

The funny thing with the mind is if you shine light on a pebble it can grow. Even the slightest connection to it can create a boulder under the right circumstances. The pebble become a hurdle, which open wounds that should have been healed.

Partly from stress and partly because a light was shined on my speech, I now had to face my speech impediment again. Even though the focus on my speech had nothing to do with the impediment, I saw my insecurities surrounding it.

I now have to figure out why the pain of not speaking exactly like everyone else still remains and threatens to come out at the slightest reference. Why does anything negative relating to speech or talking brings me to tears?

On the surface it appears that the reasons are easily sen. I want to be viewed as smart, but I must first sound intelligent. If  I’m fumbling over words, stuttering and finding replacements that I can say my IQ appears to drop.

I do not want what I view as my weakness and flaw hold me back. When it does I feel all the times its held me back. I am reminded of going to speech classes, being taken out of regular classes to go to a special speech therapy class, and feeling the label of “different” on me when it was not my choice.

Even now when I gladly wear “unique” and “different” as a proud badge, being different in speech hurts. It transports me back to being a child who did not ask for the label or want it.

I always felt loved and do not remember anyone teasing me about my impediment. They would tease me and bully me for other reasons, but never for how I spoke.

I do not want to blame my short coming or not getting things in life on my speech impediment. Hardly anyone notices now and if they do they say it doesn’t change their view of me. However, when it’s noticed it changes my view of myself. I’m reminded of the shy little girl. I find my shell again and must fight the urge to get back in it. I do fight though and write instead of crawling into my safe shell.

When the time is right I will explore why my speech impediment still hurts so badly when it is in the light. It is part of me and should not hurt me, yet it still does.

For now I will again work on tongue twisters and vocal exercises to overcome my flaws. I will become comfortable with my voice once again. I will remind myself that I’m my own success person. I’m strong and I am loved.

The relationship with my speech is a journey that I may stumble along, but I’m at least making progress and discovering more sides of who I am.

My Bad Morning (a Short Story)

writing

This is based on a true story.

I woke up today, not wanting to get out of bed. It was nothing big. I just did not want to go to work. I wanted the weekend to come a day early.

I did wake up and I did get out of bed. I got ready and decided to take part in my work’s fancy Friday. You see when you work in a company of hackers, who also have nerd tendencies, casual dress is more common than not. Most days people dress in jeans and t-shirts, but not on Friday. Friday people dress up. There is one person who appreciates fancy Fridays the most and who I believe started the tradition. It was this person’s birthday, so I thought it would be nice and cool if I dressed up. I found my dress pants and my favorite button up shirt. I did my makeup and hair. I then put my heels on and went out the door.

I got a late from my favorite cafe. My day had a later than normal start, but it was going fine. It wasn’t until I got on the highway that everything stopped being fine. I heard a load noise as if my car was drive on something. I asked myself if something could be stuck under my car. I almost didn’t pull over, but decided it would be best. I got off the highway and the sound changed a bit to more of a thud-thud sound as if my tire was flat. I thought it strange since when I was on the highway it was just really loud. I pulled into a grocery stores parking lot and got out of my car. My tire was completely blown, with holes all of it.

It was still okay. I was going to change a tire. How hard could it be? I thought I had it all under control. I started with taking the spare tire out. This should be the easiest part right? I just needed to undo the bolt and slide it out from under my car. It sounds simple, but when you are dressed up, determined to stay clean and need to pull something out from under your car things get difficult. On top of staying clean I did not want to get my clothes wet, because it had rained the night before and as soon as I started to try to get the spare tire out it started to sprinkle. I wound up doing yoga positions and weird poses just to figure out what I could do to get the tire out from under my car. Finally after a fight and a struggle I freed the dirty rescue tire from its cage.

Now, it was time to get the jack in place. Again, this should be easy, right? Don’t you just put it under you car and crank it up? Apparently the answer to both those questions was ‘no.’ After the wheel did not move, but the car frame moved I decided to look at my manual. It was inside in my glove compartment.

I went the front of my car and saw my delicious latte sitting abandoned. I thought it best to show it some love by taking a sip. It thought it best to spill all over my car. Thankfully I did not get burned, because it was lukewarm by now. Yes, I got to enjoy one, maybe two sips of hot coffee before my tire blew and now the fight over the spare tire caused my coffee to be lukewarm.

I sighed a heavy sigh and started to flip through the manual to figure out what to do with the jack. It had now started to full-out rain. Once I thought I had everything in control people started to ask my if I needed help. I was too proud and too confident to let them. I was going to finish this task. I could do it. I know I am a woman who is looking fancy, but I can do it. I can change a tire. I didn’t need any help.

I did get the jack in place and the tire ready to be taken off. I now just needed to get the nuts off. In the movies they make it seem pretty easy. Plus, this is harder than it should have been already, so now the easy part should happen. I am almost done. I just need to get the tire off.

Well, after a few minutes of trying to getting them off with increasing force a nice older man came over to should me a trick. He got on the wrench thing and jumped. Yes, I called it a wrench thing. I do not know the right name for the tool that came in the back with the jack. Also, yes, he did stand, full weight on the thing and jumped. I thought awesome I know how to do it now. I thanked him thinking that was all I needed. I just needed a tip from a stranger. He accepted the gratitude and went on his way. So, in my heels I started to hop with both feet on the wrench thing. Nothing happened. I had a thought of, “hey, I’m light.” This thought was followed by, “Oh my goodness, I am so weak I can’t even get this nut to loosen.” Thankfully after a minute of hopping on the wrench thing another man came and helped me. He told me to lower the jack and loosened the nuts for me.

After I finished taking the nuts off the wheel was easy to get off. I was almost done. I just needed to get the spare tire on and then drive  less than a mile to the tire store. By now though I knew that stupid tire wasn’t going to be easy. I just picked it up and waited until find the issue. It was aligning the holes with the bolts. I felt like I was trying to line up an ancient key with its keyhole. It took longer than it should have. Of course, the entire process took longer than it should have. Finally, after one more person asked to help me, which I refused on the fact that it was only the spare tire now, I was able to get it on.


I got up with my outfit still clean and was meant with one more nice person. It was really surprising to me how many people actually wanted to help me. I told the guy I was done, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt for him to check to make sure they were tight enough. He did and was able to tighten them a bit more.

I was now off to the tire store, where I was told that all four actually needed to be replaced. While they were pricing the tires I cleaned my hands and arms, which were the only things to get dirty. I then went and decided that I never wanted to change a tire again, so got all four new tires in hopes that it would at least postpone the tire changing nightmare.

I waited an hour in the waiting room before I was able to go to work. I got to work and after an hour I went to get a snack. I made myself peanut butter on toast. I was still proud of myself and happy that I did not get any dirt on my clothes. I tell you this because after I finished with my snack I looked down and saw that some peanut butter had dropped on my shirt along with my pants. I just had to laugh that I can change a tire while staying clean, but can not eat and stay clean.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my morning. I know I will one day when I am not frustrated with how long it took.